Hopper out as Disney restructure continues

Long-serving games exec departs as company continues to shift to digital rather than boxed product

Long-serving Disney games exec Graham Hopper is to leave the company as it continues to focus on digital rather than boxed product.

Hopper had been with the company since 1992 and was made head of the games division in 2001. He was responsible for leading a change from licensing product to creating new IP, such as Black Rock's Split/Second and Junction Point's Epic Mickey.

But earlier this month Disney boss Bob Iger said the business was shifting away from traditional boxed retail to focus on digital products - this year it bought Playdom and Tapulous as part of that drive.

"It's our goal not only to be profitable, but obviously to get there by shifting our investment and reducing our investment too," said Iger of Disney's interactive business.

"We probably will end up investing less on the console side than we have because of the shift we're seeing in consumption and have a presence, albeit with probably less investment, in terms of game manufacturing on some of the newer platforms."

Playdom CEO John Pleasants was appointed co-president of Disney Interactive Media Group, a month ahead of full-year results that showed another loss for the games segment.

In October this year Disney axed around 100 staff from its Propaganda studio and cancelled a Pirates of the Caribbean game, putting the remaining staff to work on movie tie-in Tron and its downloadable content.

"The time has come for me to move on from the company and set my sights on new horizons," said Hopper in an email to staff, according to the LA Times.

Stephen Wadsworth, previously president of Disney Interactive Media, also left the company this year.

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Latest comments (6)

Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College7 years ago
Is this a pre-empt move for Epic (fail) Mickey?

To be fair Split Second was'n't great and sales did disappoint but by all accounts Epic Mickey has a nice buzz about it and generally decisions like this are often considered after such products are released and flop.
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Soeren Lund Producer, Io Interactive7 years ago
Good luck Disney. I hope that one of the world's largest media companies with to-die-for IP will find the right format for them in this industry. Not sure that digital distribution / social gaming is it, really, unless they restructure (read reduce) their publishing overhead significantly.
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David Zemke Director of Mobile Business, SEGA of America7 years ago
They should have bought EA years ago. I think Disney has great IP, but they're going to make the move to social/mobile/online gaming much quicker than everyone else. This is an interesting move, especially in light of this article:

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Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Zemke on 23rd November 2010 5:26pm

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I agree with David, Kids are all about mobile these days and thats the big market driver.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 7 years ago
If Epic Mickey lives up to its expectation, it will be a good boost to the boxed contents. However, without a doubt online digital contents are a lot cheaper to make as they don't have "physical" manufacturing costs. But at the end of the day, it is really depending on the standard of the products I reckon
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James Anderson Studying Game Art & Design, Westwood College7 years ago
I almost exclusively download my games anymore, whether through Steam or Direct2Drive (mostly Steam now). The ease of it is the clincher for me, but I still like my collection of game boxes, much to my wife's chagrin. I wish I could do that with console games more. I bought the 250GB PS3 for that reason and a Wii. I fully intend to get both Epic Mickey and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
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